Washington state says 60 day supply of medical marijuana is 24 ounces of usable marijuana and 15 plants

According to The Seattle Times, as of November 2, 2008, a 60 day supply of medical marijuana will be considered 24 ounces of usable marijuana plus 15 plants. In 1998, Washington voters approved Initiative 692 legalizing a 60 day supply of marijuana for medicinal purposes. According to RCW 69.51A.010, qualifying patients for medical marijuana use must be at least 18 years of age, a Washington resident, have been diagnosed by a physician as having a terminal or debilitating medical condition, advised by that physician regarding the risks and benefits of using medical marijuana, and advised by that physician that he or she may benefit from the use of medical marijuana.  However, the 60 day supply authorized by Initiative 692 was not made clear and has been a source of confusion for law enforcement and patients ever since.

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Felony level drug, property, and ID theft charges to be diverted to district and municipal court

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg announced on September 25, 2008 that some felony level drug, property, and ID theft charges will be diverted from Superior Court to district and municipal courts due to budget cuts. Defendants will be charged with misdemeanors, with sentences up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $5000 instead of felonies with the possibility of years in prison and higher fines.

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Pat-down frisks must be supported by objectively reasonable facts that suspect is armed and presently dangerous

State v. Bee Xiong, Washington Supreme Court, filed September 11, 2008.

Police went to Kheng Xiong’s residence with a warrant for his arrest and a black & white picture of Kheng Xiong to assist in identifying him. Officers observed a minivan pull up to the residence and believed the passenger was Kheng Xiong, although he was actually Bee Xiong, Kheng’s brother.

Police immediately handcuffed Bee and performed a pat-down frisk. Bee told officers his name was Bee Xiong and that he was Kheng’s brother. He did not have identification, but he showed officers a tattoo on his arm of the letter “B”. The officers were unable to determine from the photograph if the man was Kheng Xiong.

One of the officers had previously noticed a bulge in Bee’s front pocket. He asked if there was something in his pocket that could hurt the officers and Bee responded, “No.” Bee told the officers that he did not want to be searched. The officer squeezed the bulge in Bee’s pocket and conferred with the officers, telling them he thought there was a “potential weapon” in Bee’s pocket. An officer reached into Bee’s pocket and pulled out a glass pipe that appeared to contain residue that the officers believed was a controlled substance.

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Exiting and locking your car doesn’t automatically prevent search incident to arrest

State v. Adams, Court of Appeals Division I, filed September 2, 2008.

Police observed a man sitting in his parked car outside a casino. The registered owner of the vehicle had an outstanding arrest warrant for a revoked driver’s license. The driver matched the registered owner’s description, so the police officer turned around to contact the driver. The driver drove away and the police officer followed. The driver turned into a Taco Bell driveway and parked. The police officer turned on its emergency lights and pulled in behind the car.

The driver, Mr. Adams, stepped out of his vehicle, stood in the open car door, and yelled at the officer that the stop was racial profiling. The police officer instructed Mr. Adams to get back in his car, but Mr. Adams kept yelling. The officer called for back-up. Mr. Adams slammed the car door, locked it, and stepped four to five feet away into the adjacent parking lot, where he continued to yell at the police officer and raise his arms in an agitated manner.

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Urinalysis is warrantess search; Mandatory urine testing as condition of pretrial release is inappropriate as there is no evidence that it increases likelihood of appearance for court

State v. Rose, Court of Appeals Division II, filed August 26, 2008.

Ms. Rose was arraigned on drug charges relating to a marijuana grow operation. Ms. Rose’s only criminal history was a conviction for driving with a suspended license from 1989. She had no history of failing to appear for court and she had a stable address and employment. The Court released Ms. Rose on her own personal recognizance, but imposed “standard drug conditions” such as weekly UA’s, no possession or use of non-prescribed drugs, no consumption of alcohol, and no entering locations where alcohol is the principal item for sale.

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